Ottawa, ON – Talking to Shaun Van Allen following the game on Saturday night, you’d be forgiven in thinking the Carleton Ravens had just lost 4-1 rather than taken a 4-1 win over the RMC Paladins to move to 6-2-2 and flip with Concordia for fifth in the OUA East.
Yet, after watching his team go up 3-0 after one period on the Paladins before crawling into a shell and getting outshot 31-16 over the final two frames, Van Allen pulled no punches post-game about the performance of his side.
“We would make a play whether we had to dump it in or carry it in; that was our philosophy in the first period, support the puck, get in forecheck, create some turnovers,” Van Allen said. “Second and third, we’d just dump it in; one guy would go in, hope he gets the puck.”
“I hated our second and third.”
Coming off a Friday night victory against the Queen’s Gaels, where everything seemed to come together for the Ravens finally, Saturday brought the side back to what might be their reality. A team that often can score their way out of problems but struggles to execute the fundamentals across all phases of the ice over sixty minutes necessary to win a Queen’s Cup.
With the Ravens hosting Queen’s on Friday and the RMC at uOttawa, the visitors traded rinks on Saturday night, with the Gaels headed to Minto and the Paladins making the trip to the Ice House.
With the Paladins looking slightly road-weary after a grudge match 5-4 loss to the uOttawa Gee-Gees, where they gave up 54 shots, the Ravens had the jump early.
Halfway through the frame Nick McCarry, fifth in the OUA with 11 assists, picked up his second goal of the season to make it 1-0 for the Ravens.
“It was a nice throw up the wall by Hogue, it bounced over the guy’s stick, saw the goalie coming out, so I knew I was going backhand,” McCarry said. “He was a little far out of his net, so I went backhand, and it ended up going in.”
Three minutes later, Alex Johnston cleanly finished off a three-on-two with a one-timer that easily beat Joey May to make it 2-0 for the Ravens. Finally, late in the period on the powerplay, a Simon Kerr point shot was tipped in by Parker AuCoin for his OUA-leading 14th goal of the season. 3-0 Ravens after twenty minutes of play.
From the moment the puck dropped in the second, it was all Paladins. RMC outshot Carleton 19-9 in the second period, forcing several critical stops out of Mark Grametbauer, who made the start in the second half of the back-to-back after stopping 21 in Carleton’s 5-1 win the previous night.
“We came out really strong there, but we gotta work on our second we have to play a full sixty,” McCarry said.
Despite play shifting entirely into the Carleton end, the Ravens held on until a scramble in front of Grametbauer poked the puck to Issac Pascoal, who slipped it in for RMC to make it 3-1 with 12 minutes to play in the third.
From there, the pressure was on, but Grametbauer stood firm. Finally, Will Collins, after picking up his first OUA goal a night ago, grabbed his second with just over three minutes left to give the Ravens some desperately needed insurance as they held on for the 4-1 win.
Van Allen ended his post-game availability by pretty plainly addressing the problem with the Ravens right now.
“This is how negative things happen, when you win games and you think you played well, and you didn’t, and that’s the hardest part as a coach trying to get that point across.” Van Allen said.
Not much more you can say than that.